In a bid to address the evolving landscape of media and communication, the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has sent a bill to the National Assembly seeking to repeal and reenact the existing NBC act. The proposed bill aims to equip the NBC with the necessary tools to regulate social media platforms and effectively manage the transition from analogue to digital broadcasting.
During a meeting at the NBC headquarters, Balarabe Ilelah, the Director-General of the NBC, expressed his concerns about social media by referring to it as a “monster.” He emphasized that the current legislation does not grant the NBC the authority to regulate social media platforms, which has become one of the major challenges faced by the commission and the country as a whole.
Ilelah explained, “We are pleased to inform you that a bill for an act to repeal and amend the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) act has been introduced in the national assembly. This bill has been drafted to address various important aspects, including the transition to digital broadcasting, enhancement of audio and video quality, efficient spectrum management, establishment of the Nigeria Broadcast Institute, social media regulation, and other related matters that are not adequately covered in the existing act. Social media poses a significant challenge, and without appropriate legislation empowering the NBC to address these issues, it will continue to negatively impact our daily lives.”
While the NBC aims to maintain a collaborative approach with broadcasters and stakeholders, prioritizing negotiations and understanding, Ilelah disclosed that in 2023, the commission had to issue 1,238 warnings and impose penalties on six different stations due to violations. The proposed bill seeks to establish a comprehensive regulatory framework that enables the NBC to effectively address social media-related concerns while upholding responsible broadcasting practices.
This bill reflects the NBC’s recognition of the transformative power and influence of social media in Nigeria’s media landscape. By seeking to regulate social media, the NBC endeavours to strike a balance between freedom of expression and the need to protect against misinformation and hate speech, among other potential challenges associated with online content dissemination. The bill will now proceed through the legislative process in the National Assembly, where it will be reviewed and debated before any potential amendments to the regulatory framework are made.